Medicine has come a long way from the Dark Ages, which got its name because even something as simple as going to the doctor could lead to a bloody, slow and horrible death. Besides the fact that so-called “medical experts” possessed little to no actual medical knowledge and faced zero accountability for their horrid actions, the tools that surgeons and their surgical technologists used basically made them glorified torturers with medical licenses. These are just some of the horrid implements of death collected by the University of Virginia and Oxford University that were supposedly used to preserve the sanctity of life.
This most basic of surgical tools may not look that different from the instruments of today besides the fact that they are shinier and don’t nearly have as much rust depending on which HMO you belong to, but try telling that to the poor schlub who is facing down the business end of one without the benefit of sweet, sweet anesthesia. The ones used in Ancient Rome were not just unclean and filled with germs and bacteria that had yet to be discovered by more enlightened minds, but they were also dull knives that were supposed to cut through skin and muscle and took twice the time. The basic cutting of an operation could be extremely painful for the patient, assuming they even survived to principal surgery in the first place.
2. Bone levers
These days, something as simple as a broken bone isn’t the life threatening and debilitating injury that it once was in ancient times. Broken limbs were not placed into casts and left to heal on their own with minimal movement or force on the injured body part. They had to be painfully pushed back into place with thesemetal levels that pushed the bone back into their position with leverage and great force. They were even used pry out and push teeth back into place along a patient’s gum line.
3. Vaginal speculums
Back then, if a man had to endure some truly painful procedure that blurs the line between healing and pain, it must have been twice as uncomfortable and downright painful for the ladies. This device was used in the past for gynecological examinations and operations until the beginning of 18th century Europe. It allowed doctors, many a surgical technologist and surgeons to perform and assist in procedures by forcing open a woman’s vagina with two metal “dovetails” operated by a large corkscrew.
4. Bone Drills and Forceps
The most gruesome instruments of the time weren’t the ones that cleared up or healed actual injuries. The worst ones were those that were used to fix problems and causes that were completed fabricated and had no basis in actual medical facts. For instance, Greek and Roman surgeons used bone drills to cut holes into human bones to extract “diseased bone tissue,” primarily from the skull. They also used these scary looking forceps to pull out tiny fragments of bones that the surgeons couldn’t get at with just their fingers.
5. Uvula Crushers
Once again, gynecological instruments manage to strike more fear in men with their gruesome, flesh tearing designs than, well, an actual woman ever could. These sharp forceps, however, used as far back as the sixth century in ancient Greece, had very sharp clamps on the end of a scissor-like device that were used to do exactly what their name implies, mostly for amputation and to prevent hemorrhaging.
6. Brain hooks
This surgical procedure might have taken place after the patient died, but the thought of it being done on anyone dead or alive can make you wish you were first if you were the latter. Ancient Egyptians would prepare bodies for mummification by taking one of these large hooks on display at the Science Museum in London and jamming it through a patient’s nose in order to pull out a large portion of their brain’s frontal lobe. The brain tissue was then disposed as Egyptians thought it be a useless part of the human body.